KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Large numbers of Afghans said their lives were bad and getting worse, the Gallup Organization reported Wednesday.
In face-to-face interviews, Gallup asked adults in Afghanistan to rate their lives on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Scale. Gallup rates respondents as "suffering," "struggling" or "thriving" based on where they fall on the 0-10 scale.
Gallup reported that 55 percent of respondents gave responses that put them in the 0-4 range -- "struggling," the highest percentage the polling organization found in 2013 in any of the countries where it does surveys. None were at the "thriving" end of the spectrum.
The average for the whole group was 4.3, the lowest number since Gallup began conducting the survey in 2008.
The results were released as the country prepares for presidential elections in April. Gallup suggested some of the economic pessimism comes from the stalled U.S.-Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement and the sharp cuts in aid that could come if it does not take effect.
Only 5 percent of those surveyed said the national economy is improving, and 34 percent said it is getting worse, suggesting that many of the problems perceived by Afghans are economic. More than half, 61 percent, said 2013 was a bad time to look for a job in their local area, the highest number Gallup has seen since 2008.
Gallup has interviewed 1,000 Afghan residents 15 and older since 2008.